North Cornwall locals divided as green energy plan unveiled
Energy chiefs have unveiled proposals to build the biggest combined wind turbine and solar panel farm in Cornwall to supply 20,000 homes.
Plans are afoot to create the 47 megawatt energy farm at Week St Mary, in North Cornwall, that could power around 20,000 homes.
Proposals for the 80-acre site include 14 turbines measuring up to 125 metres in height and 75 acres of solar panels.
It is a case of second-time around for the company behind the scheme, Good Energy.
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Last year proposals for a 125-acre solar panel only site at Week St Mary failed to get off the ground.
If it goes ahead the company will offer customers living in a five kilometre radius of the farm a local tariff with a 20% discount on electricity bills, saving customers £100 a year – plus a £79,000-a-year community fund to invest in local projects is also on the table.
New proposals unveiled yesterday by the company sparked fury in some of the 900 households in the village.
Jane Pearce, 57, villager said: "I am absolutely against these proposals. It will ruin our village. I'm fed-up with people coming along doing what they want. A while ago we protested against a new housing development but that went ahead in the end. These people always get their way and no doubt this energy farm will go ahead."
June May, 61, said: "I'm really not happy about this energy farm. It will ruin our countryside. What will be left for our grandchildren if we keep on building on our countryside. I understand we have to find alternative forms of energy – but why spoil our village? There must be other places. The discount is a bribe and I don't take kindly to bribes."
However, Juliet Davenport, chief executive and founder of Good Energy, denied the discount and community fund were "bribes".
She said: "As an ethical and responsible company we are different because we put communities at the heart of our projects. We genuinely believe they should benefit directly from the renewable energy schemes they host.
"Local people will have a lot of questions about what we are proposing which is why we have produced an information booklet and will be going door-to-door before our public event next month."
Some villagers were more accepting of the proposals.
Linda Mills, 60, retired farmer, said: "We'll probably be able to see the turbines from our house but they will be far away so it won't be so bad. We've got used to the two electricity pylons we can see so I suppose we'll get used to the turbines. But I do understand how upset people living closer to them will feel."
Some local residents including David Polglase, 67, a retired greengrocer are backing the proposals.
He said: "Wind turbines are modern-day windmills.
"Back in the day there were 75,000 of them across the country. The countryside has always had man-made structures on it.
"We have to find alternative forms of energy."
The company has yet to set a date next month for the public event.
Six landowners are involved in the scheme.
A planning application to Cornwall Council is expected to be lodged in the summer.